Alnus maritima (Marsh.) Nutt.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles



  • Betula-Alnus maritima Marsh.


Discontinuous; (of a distribution pattern) the range is split into two or more distinct areas.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
relict species
Species that has survived unchanged from a previous age (a ‘living fossil’) or become geographically isolated from related species due to a change in circumstances.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

A small tree, occasionally up to 30 ft high, with a trunk 1 to 112 ft in girth, but, according to Sargent, more often a shrub; young shoots at first downy, becoming glabrous later. Leaves obovate, sometimes oval or ovate, 2 to 4 in. long, 114 to 212 in. wide; wedge-shaped at the base, with short, broad points, the margins set with small, gland-tipped teeth; upper surface dark glossy green, glabrous; lower one dull, glabrous or with tufts of down in the vein-axils; stalks slightly downy, 12 to 34 in. long. Male flowers yellow, expanding in autumn on rough-stalked pendulous catkins 112 to 212 in. long, formed the same summer in the uppermost leaf-axils. Female catkins about 16 in. long at the time of fertilisation, expanding and ripening the following year into egg-shaped fruits 58 to 34 in. long.

Native of Delaware and Maryland; usually found near water. It was raised from seed sent by Prof. Sargent to Kew in 1878, and a tree by the lake side succeeded well until 1895, when it succumbed – apparently to the great frosts of February of that year, the effect of which, no doubt, had been heightened by the low, wet situation in which it grew. Reintroduced in 1899, but not grown at Kew at the present time. Its habit of flowering in autumn distinguishes this species from all other cultivated alders except A. nepalensis and A. nitida.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species is again in cultivation at Kew, where there are four examples by the near end of the Lake.

A. maritima is evidently a relict species. Even in Delaware and Maryland it is confined to a small area; it has a widely disjunct second area in southern central Oklahoma (Furlow).


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